“We don’t need to move to the left or to the right. We all need to go a little deeper.” - Tim Ryan, Ohio Congressman, Democrat and author of “A Mindful Nation”
In its simplest formulation, mindfulness is the practice of bringing nonjudgmental awareness to the present moment. Depending on who's talking, the practice of mindfulness may be considered essentially secular, spiritual, or religious (as in Buddhist). One thing seems to unite mindfulness practitioners: the vast majority appear to be Democrats or at least lean that way.
Who says? Not so much the mindfulness teachers and advocates, whom I assume don't want to drive away potential converts by creating a political litmus test for membership in the mindful community. Even groups that have promoted mindful political engagement shy away from explicit party affiliation, like the now-defunct MindfulVOTES ("Wherever we are on the political spectrum, HOW we vote matters" and the officially nonpartisan CTZNWELL. However, the political narratives of these groups, as well as of mindfulness community at large, are closely aligned with the concerns of Democrats, especially the left side of Democrat. For example:
We can speak forcefully — with all of the care and love in our hearts — against things that we deem dangerous or harmful; and we can act decisively to protect the well-being of people, animals, and ecosystems. Oren J. Sofer, “What’s Mindfulness Got to Do with Politics?”
People who practice mindfulness are taught to be compassionate to themselves, but also to others. The awareness of present thought allows them to have considerate dialogue, rather than react emotionally… [viewing] the anger directed toward Obama through the lens of people fearful of the changing demographics in America. It’s the same fear driving the unrest at Donald Trump rallies. Colby Itkowitz, “Yes, you can practice mindfulness and still stomach this presidential campaign”
We are building a movement from the inside out - one that is centered in personal power, amplified by community and committed to democratizing wellbeing for all. We define wellbeing as the conditions through which ALL individuals can experience their full human potential. This calls us to lean into the systems that separate so that no one is left out. CTZNWELL, "Wellbeing for All"
Inclusion, community, compassion. Sounds good to me. But then such sweet sentiments may be coupled with viewing the "other" as driven by fear, confusion, and reactivity. Plays very well in Berkeley - I suspect less so in Omaha.
Next: What do surveys of mindfulness practitioners say about their politics?